It’s heartening to see that the Centre has prioritized sanitation as one of the key items on the age
Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Hailing from Sakleshpur, Archana feels the zeal of rebellion entered her spirit quite early on. “In small towns, you have to raise your voice for not just your rights but for others too,” recalls Archana adding that she is a problem solver not an activist.
The issue of public toilets came to her mind after a personal experience. “On my way to Mangaluru, the bus stopped at Yediyur at 6:45 pm. I got down to use the wash room as I needed to change the pad. It was pitch dark inside the toilets, so I switched on my mobile’s torch and saw a bucket of water full of larvae.”
Archana also enquired a few women employees at 20 petrol pumps on the highway and discovered some disturbing stories. Ministry of the Road, Highways and Transport has made it mandatory for petrol pumps along the highway to provide clean separate toilets for men and women. “But it wasn’t the case. Since the toilets are being used by both men and women, women felt ashamed to change their pads and throw it in the dustbin. They used one pad throughout the day.”
She put out an RTI but didn’t get any response. Archana feels the lack of focus, not knowing the target decision-maker clearly, didn’t yield any results. “I didn’t know whom amongst the decision makers to target. So I feel I may not have reached out to the right people but after coming here, I am gaining clarity. I also feel that I am not alone,” says Archana.
Clear about the agency to target - NHAI, she is planning to launch the petition on August 15, Independence Day. “I want visibility, cleanliness and safe surroundings for public toilets.”